Social Studies Bell Ringer/Board Work with Daily Social Studies

9:02 AM Sarah Koves 0 Comments

I feel like it has been ages since I wrote an actual post...well, not ages, but a few days at least.  I started this blog, so I could write and share my ideas.  This is something I have been doing in English for almost ten years now since I student taught, but I haven't been doing it near as long in my social studies classes; probably about half as long.

This idea was spawned from the need for bell work when I taught middle school social studies.  I needed to get their fidgety little bodies going.  I have continued to use this in my high school social studies classes with much success.

The first thing you need is one of my Daily Geography Practice and This Day in History Sheets, which are available on my TPT store for FREE!

The other product I use for this bell work: Great Source's Daily Geography Book.  I bought the seventh grade book years ago for myself.  It appears they now might require you to purchase it through your school authorized purchaser and that the price has gone up, but it is worth every penny because it has the vocabulary, answers, and quizzes right in that awkwardly sized book.

There are other companies produce these, but this has been the best one I have found.


UPDATE:  This book is no longer available for individual purchase, but I have created my own weekly geography:  Check it out: Daily Geography

I have used this same seventh grade book for social studies classes from 6th-10th grade.  I plan to continue using it this year with my civics classes of juniors.  I just thing that the skills are so timeless: using maps, higher level thinking, research, and general knowledge to be Culturally Literate.

The only other thing you will need it an internet connection to This Day in History by History.com  History.com does a daily video of what happened on today in history.  It also provides a comprehensive list with events and links to further reading on the events.  For example: On today, August 8th, in the year 79 A.D. Mt. Vesuvius erupted.



I copy these with the questions with the This Day in History sheet on the back.  These then become the students' bell work for the week.  Notice the heading says 7-1.  This is because I have several of these books, so this reminds me that it is 7th grade book week 1.

When they come in to my class, they use whatever resources they have (textbook, dictionary, atlas, almanacs, phone) to work through the answers to the questions for the day.  There is usually a fair amount of talking and helping going on as the students work through these questions.

When they finish the two questions for the day, we talk about what happened on this day in history.  Now, we could just have a conversation about this stuff, but I have found that having them write something down help move it to memory.  Now I do not expect them to recount every item that we talk about nor do I test them on this, but it gives us a chance to talk about interesting things that we might not get to in our regular class.  I mean how often do you really get to talk about Mt. Vesuvius?

Some days we watch the video, but some days we don't.  Also, there are days when nothing on the list of events strikes me, so we don't talk about anything.  I usually only pick 1-4 items of the list because I find it can be too much.

To save myself some headaches over the years, I have printed out my favorites and keep them in a binder chronologically.  This way if I am gone or the internet goes down (that never happens at your school, right?) I am not left in a lurch.

Overall, my social studies bell work accomplishes several things:

1) Students are engaged from the start of class.
2) Students are learning research and problem solving skills when they don't readily know an answer
3) Students are becoming culturally literate citizens
4) Students are getting a chance to discover interesting tidbits of knowledge not normally covered in class content.

I strongly encourage you to give this a try.  

I would love to hear what other secondary teachers use for bell work.

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